What is it with telemarketers? When will they understand that no one wants to talk to them? Stephen Berkson and Roger Anderson, from Southern California, were sick and tired of non-stop unwanted calls. They decided it was time to take some sweet revenge on these telemarketing companies that ignored do not call lists. They developed a voice program that would waste the telemarketer’s time by responding with various phrases and inflictions instead of blocking or automatically hanging up on these unwanted calls.
Roger recorded these interactions and uploaded them on YouTube, where they were a big hit. As the comments filled up with hundreds of people who wanted to exact the same kind of revenge, Stephen and Roger they had a real business opportunity on their hands.
They started the Jolly Roger Telephone Company, a service that featured various computer-generated voices that handles calls from blacklisted numbers on landlines and mobile numbers, wasting as much time as possible until the caller hangs up. The duo initially offered the service for free, but after a failed Kickstarter campaign, they switched the business model to a paid monthly subscription for personal and business use.
Is It Still an Active Company?
Currently, the website is still active, offering its services to the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. They have uploaded more informational content, improved their user dashboard, and increased the number of screenable numbers from three to seven.
How Did The Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Stephen and Roger brought their business to the Tank, looking for $400,000 for 10% equity. They pitched Jolly Roger and played actual call recordings of their bots hilariously interacting with the telemarketers, demonstrating how effectively and realistically they wasted time.
As Roger explained the workings of their software, Kevin interrupted, asking for the numbers because he wanted to understand the $4 million valuation as the business was pre-revenue. Neither Stephen nor Roger could give them a definite answer and kept trying to entice the Sharks with the possibilities of their idea.
Mark wasted no time backing out. He said he only worked with tangible products and didn’t do features. He was out. Lori loved the idea but didn’t fully understand the concept and said she was out. Raymond found himself in the same boat and was out too.
Jamie was interested but wanted to know exactly where the money was going, but the tech duo could not give him a concrete answer. They said the plan was to work with other telecom carriers, which Jamie believed would be impossible. Jamie was out.
Kevin loves the revenge of the nerds aspect but said they didn’t have any structure, he wanted 50%. Jamie was willing to team up with Kevin at 60%, for $400,000, even bring it down to 50%.
Stephen’s constant attempts to squeeze in a story were too much for Jamie, who changed his mind and said he was out, and Kevin quickly followed suit.
Stephen and Roger walked out without a deal but with their heads held up high. They came in looking for a partnership, not an acquisition.
Our Review of Jolly Roger Telephone Co
Jolly Roger’s Telephone Co.’s website fully embraces the pirate theme, with everything from fonts to animations. They have uploaded several call recordings where you can listen to their AI characters in action as they respond and irritate telemarketers.
You sign up and enter the phone numbers you want to screen. When a telemarketer calls, you answer and then conference the robot voice that you want to take the call. Then press mute and enjoy the mayhem that ensues. There are ten unhinged bot characters to choose from, all listed below:
- Jolly Roger, who says silly things like, there is a bee on me
- Jolly Jane, a female version of Jolly Roger
- Salty Sally, the frazzled mom who keeps getting distracted
- Whitey Whitebeard, the senior citizen with a hearing problem
- Whiskey Jack,a sports fan who is busy watching a game.
- Debbie Doldrums, the non-stop talker
- Moby Dick, the male version of Debbie
- Kim the Kraken, the mom with a fiery temper and a crazy baby
- Bloody Billy, the short-tempered fighter
- Crazy Mazy, the free-spirited old lady with a couple of loose screws.
You also get a 30-day free trial to test drive this service and can even assign different characters to each of your numbers.
Pros of Jolly Roger Telephone Co
- Works on landlines, Mobiles, VoIP, and Google Voice
- Keeps a call log and call recordings
- Has detailed instructions and FAQs on its website.
Cons of Jolly Roger Telephone Co
- Landline has to have a conference call feature
- Your phone is unavailable while the bot is talking on the phone.
Who is Jolly Roger Telephone Co For?
Jolly Roger’s telephone service is for anyone who gets numerous calls from unknown numbers, scammers, and telemarketers. It is an amusing way to avoid such callers and give them a taste of their own medicine.
Are There Any Alternatives?
As telemarketers and scammers continue their mission to make unsolicited calls, many companies have stepped up to create services to block their calls. A couple of our fa
This app has answer bots in many fun voices, like Kermit the Frog, Ice T, and even Morgan Freeman, that will answer spam calls. It also has a sophisticated predictive algorithm that analyzes incoming calls and texts to determine if they are spam and block it immediately. Claiming to be 99% effective, this app lets you choose your block level, create allow/block lists, pause screening, and pre-screen unknown numbers. You can sign-up on the website and get a seven-day free trial.
Lenny – The Telemarketing Troll
This free chatbot is a Linux-based software that answers unwanted calls with pre-recorded messages. It works on iOS, Android phones, and any system with a web browser. It is designed as an elderly man who is a little deaf, slightly senile, easily confused, and accustomed to repeating himself. In other words a telemarketer’s worst nightmare. You can download the software from the website and install it on your device.
Our Final Thoughts
As victims of unwanted scam calls and telemarketers, we love the idea behind Jolly Roger. It is a harmless but mischievous way to get back those pesky callers that just don’t seem to get the message that we are not interesting. Even though they couldn’t score a deal with Shark, Jolly Roger has managed to sustain its business as it continues to improve its service. We wish them the best of luck.